A July Update

Worshipping at church

I'd like to say I've been too busy following up on my July Challenge to blog. But that wouldn't be entirely true. (I am glad to say I have actually studied Khmer every day this month - only 10 more days left in the challenge!)

Sharing a good-bye feast last month for the expats leaving the church

Honestly, I've been struggling some this month with my purpose here in Cambodia. I'm one who likes to know what's expected of me when it comes to work - clear boundaries, a rhythm and routine. So I've spent a lot of time in prayer and thinking about my opportunities. I've wavered between my longing for a regular nursing job like I've done before and the dawning knowledge that God doesn't want me to do anything I've done before.

It's exciting and challenging. As I've been letting go of my own expectations and letting God tell me his, he's brought along a lot of different opportunities. I was approached by a local Christian children's home and an NGO program that works with at-risk youth, both of whom wanted to provide education for adolescents on sexual and reproductive health. I've never done this before, but after being here more than a year, I can tell you that it is desperately needed by youth here. Sex is a completely taboo subject, and many girls get married knowing nothing about its mechanics, let alone how you get pregnant. It's an exciting chance to help both boys and girls know more about God's purposes for their lives and how to have healthy relationships.

Another friend here who is expecting a baby soon asked if I could teach her and her pregnant neighbors how to take care of a newborn. Again - newborns were never my forte, especially considering I've never had one myself! But I said yes and started looking for resources.

Andrew playing with the kids at the church playground

Although I know education is not the solution to the problems here, it is one step in the right direction. How can people make good choices about their health if they don't know the options - or even know there is a choice? So I've been praying that God opens my heart to whatever needs are here in Poipet and helps me answer them well.

Happy birthday, Andrew!

In other news, we celebrated Andrew's birthday this month with salmon (bought in the big city a few hours away and "imported" in) and carrot cake (my first attempt - made successful only by the gift of cream cheese by a departing expat friend!). It's quite special to have treats like that, that take a bit of planning ahead - there's not a whole lot of spontaneous cooking that happens around here!

Yes, I do take photos of my food, thank you very much

Mmmm carrot cake!